Honey and Vinegar
If you consider all of the religions in the world, there is only one that is too hard for most people. It is too hard in the sense that becoming a member requires too much commitment. It requires too much sacrifice and too much suffering. And as the world embraces more ease and comfort, more wealth and entertainment, more personal freedom, and more independent thought, it is harder each day for a soul to be drawn to this religion, this Catholic Religion. Not the New Modern Catholic Religion, but the Catholic Religion that used to be. It is now a mere vestige of the Catholic Church that once was. It is the same Religion that the New Modern Catholic Church used to be only 50 years ago, prior to the dramatic changes which produced what is called “Catholic” today. But for those few that recognize that the Catholic Church could never change and has never changed, these innovations are rejected along with that church.
Hence a remnant of the Catholic Church, a Traditional Catholic Church, continues on. For this Church and for Her members time stopped 50 years ago and we are living as if in the late 1950's. Not that the Faith was correctly believed or practiced by all back then, but the Religion itself was perfect. This perfect Catholic Religion was the same then as it was at its foundation and can still be found the same even today if you look hard enough. And what you will find is the Catholic Church that used to demand much for the promise of eternal salvation. Not for the sake of the Church, but for God’s sake, as it was divinely revealed to Her to go forth and teach all nations.
Many things happened that lead to the catastrophe that we are living through today. A consistent undertone to all of the changes was moderation. Moderation is a kind of false charity that has a humanistic element coupled with weak faith. It reasons that it is better to soften the message of God, so that it is more attractive, and thereby more souls will be drawn to the Catholic Faith and embrace it. It is drawn from the proverb that more flies are attracted with honey than with vinegar.
If you are so inclined to this thinking you may be tempted to “save” souls. But the reasoning is flawed for the reasons given, and it is shown in three ways. First is that the Catholic Faith that you are drawing people to, is not the Catholic Faith (remember you had to soften it). So you are holding up a false Catholicism for people to see. This leads to the second problem; the problem of deception. You tried, or were successful, in duping a person to become a Catholic. Now you will either have to inform them that there is more to the Catholic Faith than what you initially lead them to believe, without informing them that that was your intention or you will really compound the error and just leave them with the “soft” version. And thirdly, since by your example you have shown that the rules are not rigid and can be bent, or shaved, or set aside, or glossed over, you have scandalized yourself and your Faith and only succeeded in adding another member whose Faith is at least as weak as yours.
Likewise is the opinion that you cannot convert those that you cannot dialogue with. The thinking here is that you need to tone down the rhetoric or that you need to tolerate sin, so that people do not get offended. Because if they are offended they will leave and then they are lost forever. This thought is very prevalent these days and is the cause for greater loss than it tries to prevent. How can you dialogue by consenting to error, when the very consenting to error destroys your side of the dialogue? It is like lying to your kids to get them to stop lying. If the Catholic Faith teaches that sin in not to be tolerated, then how can we tolerate it in order to convince someone to be Catholic? Again this opinion is steeped in a need for human respect and weakness of Faith.
Contrary to these perspectives is the more ancient manifestation of the Catholic Faith, the Faith of the Martyrs. The Religion is held up for what it is; the divinely revealed Will of God. One should not dare to try to modify or omit even a tiny fraction of it. It is what it is, take it or leave it. It is not a popularity contest. People should not be baited into it. They should not be tricked into it, even if it is for their own good. As the history of the Catholic Faith has shown steadfastness to truth and the complete teachings of the Church, is the stronger way, the more successful way, the way by which the Church flourished. St. John Chystostom, could have helped end the Arian conflict and avoided exile and compromised with the Emperor and his Bishops, if he would have only agreed to adding the letter “ i ” (iota – in Greek) to a word. It would have changed the nature of Jesus from “God” to “like God.” But he would not compromise the true Faith, not one “iota.”
The Jesuits, for all of the good that they did and all the blood that they shed for truth, could not resist this temptation to error. They tried to live with the world, yet not become part of it. When you are so entrenched in the worldliness of the world it is too difficult not to be contaminated by its reasoning and pollution. It is their moderation of principles and duty that lead to their suppression, and even more so to their re-instatement, and finally to their total loss of focus. By becoming part of the world, they tried to convince the world that the world was evil and should be avoided. Almost a “do as I say not as I do” mentality. The road to Hell is paved with good intentions. Look to the Saints, the Martyrs and the Blessed Virgin for guidance.
We should have their same inflexibility with regards to our Faith. It is always better to keep the faith and lose a friend, than to keep the friend and you both lose the Faith. You are not being kind to a sinner if by your kindness you consent to his sin. You teach your children it is OK to sin if you do not insist on avoiding it. No tolerance, no moderation, no exception. It must be such to avoid corruption. It must be such for good example. If any change is tolerated then any change can be tolerated. Slam the door shut to worldly rationale and tolerance. It is better to convert one strong Catholic than 100 weak ones. Be correct always in thought and actions, regardless of the difficulty, conflict, or consequence. When a friend or relative sees that you value your faith enough to make the tough decisions regardless of the popularity or negative perceptions, then you are truly a model Catholic, worthy of emulation, especially by your children. And besides, souls can not be compared to flies.
Strength and Truth in doctrine will draw strong and true souls to the Catholic Religion. In this terrible time, the time of the greatest persecution of the Catholic Church, strength is what is needed to destroy the many enemies that the Church now faces and to shine the bright beacon of Light to those searching for the Truth. Ask the Holy Ghost to strengthen His gifts of Fortitude and Wisdom so that you may be a worthy member of the Church Militant.
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